Policies & Principles

In addition to taking a number of test security measures (detailed below), Michigan Language Assessment offers accommodations to test takers and has developed a set of fairness principles for all Michigan Language Assessment tests.

Test Security

Michigan Language Assessment takes test security and score validity very seriously and asks its test centers to help ensure the security and validity of Michigan Language Assessment exams.

Rules Violations

Rules violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Misrepresentation: A test taker’s appearance or signature does not match the picture or signature on the identification provided at registration
  • Test misconduct: Test center staff discover inappropriate or suspicious behavior during the test administration, including, but not limited to:
    • Collaborating with another test taker during the test administration
    • Copying answers from another test taker’s exam papers
    • Creating a disturbance or threatening test center staff or other test taker
    • Neglecting to follow test center instructions, including but not limited to:
      • Starting a section of the test before being instructed to do so
      • Continuing the test or section after being instructed to put your pencils down
    • Referring to previously prepared notes or aids (e.g., test preparation books, study guides, dictionaries, etc.)
    • Transferring test information to or from any external media
  • Use of electronic devices: Mobile phones, pagers, or other electronic devices may not be accessed during the test period, including during breaks

Irregularities

Michigan Language Assessment performs checks to identify irregularities in addition to collecting information from its test centers regarding rules violations. Michigan Language Assessment will consider each case individually and decide whether a score report or certificate will be issued, withheld, or if the exam will be invalidated.

Examples of irregularities include:

  • Unusual answer patterns: There is a significant discrepancy in the test taker’s performance and/or pattern of answers across test sections.
  • Unverifiable handwriting: There is sufficient evidence that the handwriting on the writing section (if applicable) does not match the test taker’s signature or handwriting on registration documents.

Withheld Results

A withheld result is a temporary status applied to test results when Michigan Language Assessment and its partners find it necessary to investigate an irregularity in a specific test or test administration.

  • We make every effort to investigate each case in timely manner
  • Test takers whose scores are initially withheld but are later released will receive a standard score report, and the prior withheld status will not be noted
  • It is possible that a test taker whose scores were withheld will subsequently be invalidated

Invalidations

An invalidation is the result of a rules violation or irregularity. If Michigan Language Assessment determines that a rules violation was committed or an irregularity exists, a score report or certificate will not be issued, and the test taker and test center will be notified via official communication. Michigan Language Assessment reserves the right to:

  • Invalidate a test taker’s exam scores due to rules violations identified prior to, during, or after a test administration, as well as any irregularities identified by Michigan Language Assessment
  • Decline to issue exam scores, and, in extreme cases, Michigan Language Assessment may prohibit the test taker from future test administrations

Appeals Procedure

Test takers may appeal their invalidation. Michigan Language Assessment has a two-stage appeals procedure.

Stage 1

Michigan Language Assessment must be notified within seven (7) calendar days of notification of invalidation. To appeal the invalidation, order an Invalidation Appeal for stage 1 online.

  • Michigan Language Assessment will do an administrative review of the test taker’s case within two (2) business days and inform the test taker of the decision in writing
  • If Michigan Language Assessment decides an error has been made, the Stage 1 fee will be refunded to the test taker
Stage 2

Michigan Language Assessment must be notified within seven (7) calendar days of notification of the upheld decision. To appeal a decision on invalidation, order an Invalidation Appeal for stage 2 online.

  • Michigan Language Assessment’s Test Security Group will conduct a review of the test taker’s case within three (3) weeks and inform the test taker of the decision in writing
  • If Michigan Language Assessment decides an error has been made, both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 fees will be refunded

Test Security Group

The Test Security Group at Michigan Language Assessment is tasked with maintaining a high degree of test security at Michigan Language Assessment and seeking solutions to improving test security. The Test Security Group comprises Michigan Language Assessment staff members from across departments with expertise in test security. In the event of a Stage 2 appeal of invalidated results, this group will meet to discuss whether or not the evidence supported the conclusion that resulted in a test taker’s invalidation.